Reasons Prescription Drug Prices Are So High in the U.S.

Higher drug prices in the US are majorly the outcome of the monopoly granted to the big Pharmaceutical companies

A research study, recently published by the Harvard University Medical School, Cambridge produced an observation that the price escalation of drugs in the US is majorly due to the monopoly that the big pharmaceutical companies enjoy in the country.

The research team reviewed the health and the medical policy in the US.  The research outcome report got published in the American Medical Association journal on 23rd August 2016. This research got supported by the Boston Women Hospital.

An excerpt of the study

In the opinion of the research team members, the most significant factor that triggers escalation of drug costs is the monopoly rights of the pharmaceutical companies. The prevailing patent act in the US is another factor that contributes to this outcome. It implies that the new drug will not face challenges from the generic drug for a given extent of time.

The bigger pharmaceutical companies in the country have always backed the extravagant price of drugs in the US. In their opinion, the higher cost is the outcomes of the extensive research expenses conducted for developing new drugs.

What are the major factors that trigger an escalation of drug price in the US?

The Critics of the big pharmaceutical companies have suggested that generic manufacturers need to come up to the market. This will raise the professional competition between the pharmaceutical manufacturers. Hence, they might try to attract more customers by offering complete price.

This will benefit the mass by lowering the price of the necessary drugs. The research team found that there exist policy-related barrier to accomplishing this objective. As per the prevailing enactments, the new drugs enjoy a safe span, ranging between 5 to 7 years. A generic competitor can come up the line only after the said time span.

In addition, drug manufacturers can claim patent rights. It will safeguard their interest for a long span of 20 years. In the opinion of the researchers, these codes have raised a monopoly standing in the market for the big pharmaceutical companies. They are getting sufficient time to exploit mass and earn massive profit figures.

Reforms in the prevailing enactments and laws are necessary

This is a standing that is contradicting the rights of the citizen to get quality medical care at an affordable price. The research team rightly described that standing as complex and intricate. In their opinion, the situation demands lots of consideration and the government has to balance between conflicting interests to ensure that the mass gets a supply of medicine at affordable rates.

These troubles had originated through the clauses of the enactments. Hence, the situation demands to apply root-cause solutions to bring the standing at equilibrium. The research team said that Government intervention is necessary and it demands elementary reforms in the prevailing enactments and legal codes.

The lawmakers need to ensure that no pharmaceutical companies are getting any chances whatsoever to exploit the mass to elevate its profit. As a nation that has always safeguarded human rights, people expect that the Government will offer suitable solutions. The monopolistic standing in the drug market is the first point to get resolved if the country has to ensure sound public health.

The US features the highest per-Capita expenses in the world

As per the study, the higher drug prices in the US are majorly the outcome of drug monopoly as well as the capacity of the big manufacturers to negotiate the drug price. In the course of the research, the research team reviewed the drug price in the country.

It came to their observations that the per-capita spending on medicines in the US stands highest in the world. The US has surpassed all the developed nations in this regard. As a matter of fact, the per capita spending on the prescription drug in the US for the year 2013 was standing at $858. This figure is even more than double the amount in other 19 industrialized countries across the world.

The point stated in the paragraphs above suggests that the US residents are spending the major part of their income on medical care. This is something that is not at all solicited in a developed nation.

There has been evidence that the US citizens frequently have to borrow money for meeting medical exigencies. Hence, the high medical care cost is a major factor that is setting the nation into a debt trap. Thus, serious and sincere efforts are needed to address these concerns that are exerting exceeding pressure on the citizens.

Life-saving drugs in the US market costs 8 times the price in the European countries

The research team found that this standing holds true in perspective of common drugs like the steroid inhaler. This is a drug used to treat asthma. The costing for the inhaler amounts to $300 per month in the US.

On the contrary, French people get a monthly supply of this drug just for $35 a month. Likewise, insulin costs more than 8 times in the US market, contrasted to its pricing in the European market. Insulin is a life-saving drug for diabetic patients. Thus, the high price of the medicine is taking a major toll on the US citizens, suffering from Diabetics.

The research team, however, did not found any solid instances to back the claims of the pharmaceutical manufacturers. The study revealed that the 10 biggest manufacturers had invested between 7% and 21% of their revenue on research & development purposes. Thus, the plea that the companies are conducting extensive researches gets ruled out. Hence, companies can never ever use the point to back the escalation in the price of drugs. The research made it clear that the price hike is purely the outcome of the thirst of the manufacturers to optimize their revenues and book profit.

Probable remedial measures the research team suggested

With the objective to make the drug price affordable, the research team advocated several approaches and strategies. This includes the enforcement of stringent codes to qualify for the exclusive rights.

Likewise, drug manufacturer should comply with certain guidelines while negotiating the drug prices. The researchers advocated that the government should ensure that more of generic manufacturers come up the line.

This will enhance the professional competition as well as bring a significant reduction in the drug price. In addition, with the evolution of the generic manufacturers, people will get more alternatives to consider.

In the opinion of the research team members, the mass and the Government need to collaborate to fight the price escalation. Patients should always discuss the drug price with the physicians. They should request the doctor to prescribe the generic drugs and ask for cheaper alternatives.

The research team aired some thoughts for the physicians as well.  As a responsible professional, doctors should always consider the probable impact of the drug price on the patients. If the doctors are encouraging the generic medicines and emphasizing on cheaper drugs, it will benefit the patients.

They will get suitable drugs within their buying capacity. In addition, it will challenge the monopolistic market situation. The big manufacturers will not be able to exploit the interest of the mass. If these grave instances have to be solved, the US residents, doctors, and the physicians need to collaborate and work in close association, aiming at collective benefits for the nation.

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